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Review: the W Mexico City hotel in Polanco: has the first W in Latin America still got what it takes?

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This is our review of the W Mexico City hotel.

Keen to get some respite from the British winter, and having heard some excellent feedback about Mexico, I decided to head over for a week, starting with a couple of nights in Mexico City.

The W Mexico City was one of the first W Hotels to open, back in 2003. At the time, the brand had been launched just five years prior and there were just 20-odd W Hotels around. The Mexico City W was the first to open in Latin America and offers a glimpse at how the W brand has changed over the past 25 years.

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

I’ll be reviewing two more hotels in Mexico, both in Tulum: the new Conrad Tulum and the Papaya Playa Project, a Design Hotel and part of Marriott Bonvoy.

The hotel website is here. Thanks to Marriott for arranging my stay for review purposes.

Where is the W Mexico City hotel?

The W Mexico City is located in Polanco, an affluent and up-market neighbourhood just west of Mexico City central district.

It’s a pleasant area and feels quite residential and quiet, although not quite as happening as other neighbourhoods such as La Condesa or Roma.

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

There is a small cluster of hotels here, all in a row, including the JW Marriott, Hyatt Regency and InterContinental. All overlook the gardens around the National Auditorium and Chapultepec park.

One thing that I didn’t quite realise until I got to Mexico City is the scale of it: it’s vast, and getting around often requires journeys of 45+ minutes. Fortunately the metro is relatively easy to use (and exceedingly cheap) whilst Ubers are also readily available. I used a mix of both, depending on which was faster and more convenient.

An Uber from the airport takes about 40 minutes with traffic, but can be as little as half that at night.

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

Inside W Mexico City

The W Mexico City occupies a 26-floor fairly bog-standard looking tower. It is one of the oldest W hotels out there, having opened in 2003.

On arriving we were offered a welcome drink – a little shot glass with a delicious mezcal cocktail:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

As there were no other guests, check-in was prompt. The lobby features these intriguing face-chairs:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

Rooms at W Mexico City

I believe the rooms last had a refresh in 2016 with a very glossy, white and cream design:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

The design is almost, dare I say it, plain for a W Hotel. Bright green flashing under the bed provides a zing of colour whilst there’s also some photographic wallpaper in the corner:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

There are a lot of hard surfaces here, from the big white tiles to the desk and frosted-glass minibar:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

Only the beds really soften the effect:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

As you can see, you get a pillow with a design in the same theme as the photographic wallpaper.

I have to say the bed was very comfortable – no complaints from me. Opposite the bed is a desk and box-framed TV as well as a seating area that could double up as a luggage rack:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

To the right of the beds you have a wardrobe with safe, drawers, slippers and gown, plus the mini bar in the aforementioned glass box. As is usual for a W, this is stocked with half-size bottles of various spirits and mixers which you can pay for:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

A Nespresso machine is also available.

By now you’re probably wondering where the bathroom is, as this is usually the first thing you see as you step into a hotel room.

Uniquely, the designers have chosen to put this at the very end – in the window:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

I thought this was a fun feature, although the design of the building means that unfortunately you don’t get a view from the shower or toilet which are fully enclosed – a real shame, as that would have been the icing on the cake.

The shower is on the left with an rain shower head and fantastic water pressure:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

…. whilst the toilet is on the right. Whilst the bathroom itself only features a screen curtain to the room, both the toilet and shower have been separated by mirrored glass which helps to make the room feel even brighter and carry some of that light into the main part of the room. The only thing missing are hooks to hang towels and gowns as there is nowhere to put them.

There are two wash basins and toiletries are MOMO and Skin Regimen. I have a soft spot for both of these and really enjoy using them every time I’m at a W.

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

Overall, the glossy fittings and cream-coloured walls don’t feel as luxurious as you might expect from a W Hotel and the design, whilst in good nick, is starting to show its age and feels a little dated.

Spa and gym at the W Mexico City hotel

Bad news for anyone hoping to to relax by a pool after a full day of sightseeing, as unfortunately the hotel does not feature a pool, indoor or out.

What it does have is an Away Spa on the fourth floor with a jacuzzi, steam room and sauna:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

I’m told the W is also the only hotel in the city to feature a traditional Temazcal lodge:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

You can book a 90 minute Temazcal experience led by a shaman which is definitely a unique experience. It’s basically a mix between a sauna and a meditation session! Despite the shaman not speaking any English and our not speaking any Spanish we managed to muddle through it and it was fantastic.

You also have a gym on the same floor, with windows overlooking the leafy green streets:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

Breakfast at W Mexico City

Breakfast is served in a dedicated room on the first floor. It’s surprisingly small for a hotel of this size, although we never had to wait so it clearly works:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

The breakfast buffet looks fairly small but when you get to it they have managed to pack a lot in. There’s a broad selection of breads, muffins and pastries:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

…. plus various cold cuts, including smoked salmon, jamon, salami etc:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

In terms of hot items, you have a range of more European / American style food including hash browns and the best hotel bacon I’ve ever had:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

…. plus local specialities including a sort of chicken in a sauce, grilled vegetables and pork.

Eggs are made to order and you can ask for avocado too. They haven’t quite got the hang of a poached egg yet though ….

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

There’s also a range of fresh fruit and cereals:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

…. and, bizarrely, a dedicated ‘Asian’ section:

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

The weakest section by far are any savoury vegetables, as you only have a choice between a garden salad or pasta salad; there’s no cucumber or other bits to build your own.

Overall I was very happy and there was no shortage of options, and at the end of the day there’s also plenty of excellent (and cheap) food to be had in and around Mexico City.

Review: W Mexico City hotel, Polanco

Conclusion

Set in the leafy, residential neighbourhood of Polanco, the W Mexico City is a good choice with the Anthropological Museum and a variety of parks on your doorstep, plus easy access to the metro.

The style of the rooms are beginning to become dated, but they’re still in good condition and I found the bed very comfortable. The mirrored bathroom with the view was a unique touch, although I wish the shower had a view too!

It’s a shame that the hotel doesn’t have an outdoor pool, but the lovely spa still offers a respite from the city.

Rooms start from around £200 per night whilst redemptions start at 47,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night. You can find out more, and book, on the hotel website here.


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Comments (40)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • SamG says:

    Re: the Asian food, huge amount of Chinese investment into Mexico to take advantage of the trade deal with the US , there used to be regular direct flights pre COVID! So that is probably why.

    Reminds me of the W in Singapore, a perfectly decent hotel but doesn’t seem to align very well to the W brand!

  • Gordon says:

    Good review Rob, No outdoor pool would be a deal breaker for me as there is obviously no beach being a city hotel, But I am not a business traveler.
    I’m Touring the US west coast for the month of April also flying to Cancun for a week (sampling Jet Blue). That’s the closet I’m getting to Mexico.

    • Gordon says:

      Sorry, Good review Rhys….

    • JDB says:

      @Gordon – if you are touring the US west coast, why are you flying all the way to Cancun (a downmarket but pricey Benidorm) when the west coast of Mexico is so much nearer, 10x nicer and miles cheaper.

      • Gordon says:

        @JDB Because I like Cancun and I obtained a cracking deal at an A.I Property we visited last year, So this visit will not be overpriced in fact the opposite, I will visit Mexico at some stage on my travels.

    • JDB says:

      @Gordon – if you are touring the US west coast, why are you flying all the way to Cancun (a downmarket but pricey Benidorm) when the west coast of Mexico is so much nearer, 10x nicer and miles cheaper??

      • Gordon says:

        @JDB Because I like Cancun and I obtained a cracking deal at an A.I Property we visited last year, So this visit will not be overpriced in fact the opposite, I will visit Mexico at some stage on my travels.

    • Man of Kent says:

      @Gordon – would be interested to hear about your US West Coast itinerary as we are planning a road trip in September / October from San Francisco to Seattle.

      • Gordon says:

        @Man of Kent- We were going to hire a car and drive the triangle including San Francisco but we changed our plans as we want to return at a later date hire a camper van and drive the complete route 66 east to west taking in all the sights over a couple of months. We fly into Las Vegas, C.W. 2-4-1 voucher beginning of April, Watch a couple of shows, visit the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam, Fly to LAX, Rent a car, Visit Venice beach, Arts areas, Hollywood boulevard areas, Napa Valley, Santa Monica, Long beach etc.
        Fly to Cancun 9 nights, Fly back to LAX for 1 night then fly back to Las Vegas for a few nights for some retail therapy (North outlet). Fly back to the UK end of April. The majority of hotels are booked through Emyr Thomas, I am disappointed that I am not going to see the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco this time.
        A heads up – As your hiring a car Most rental cars have an integrated sat nav now, If not don’t pay extra for it, If your mobile contract is with O2 and have the international travel bolt on (No extra cost) in the US your data allowance is covered at no additional cost. This would be an advantage when using data for vehicle and walking navigation.

        Have a great and safe road trip.

        • Man of Kent says:

          Thanks @Gordon, sounds like a great trip (are you hoping to visit Napa Valley from LA as it’s north of San Francisco)! Useful heads up on the sat nav though I bought one in the US a few years ago which we take with us. Definitely saves renting one from the car hire outlet and I’m used to using it now so it’s all straight forward (useful at my age) – I also update the software and maps on it before each trip so it’s current. I just need to remember to remove it from the car during the pandemonium of airport rental returns!

          Safe journey.

          • Gordon says:

            Re Napa Valley, This was the only part of our journey that we had pencilled in as it will be a stretch with the amount of time we have being a 6 plus hour drive from LA, hence not visiting San Francisco on this occasion. So will probably leave this and San Francisco until another time. Good idea re the sat nav, Yes airports can be a drain, I dread them even with lounge access. (Man of Kent). We have no doubt crossed paths at some stage as I have secured a contract in Erith in Kent and travel down frequently from north Essex.

            Good luck.

          • AndyGWP says:

            Conscious I’m over 24 hours late to this conversation, but you could do worse than look at Temecula, or Santa Maria for vineyards 🙂

  • Andrew says:

    Stayed here last year as part of my BA holiday. Fantastic location tho like most W’s I found this one totally underwhelming – typical style over substance. The hotel was soulless, the bar pretty much empty and as you said; the rooms pretty dated.
    I visited the Sofitel which has a great rooftop bar with outside area it was buzzing both day and night with great music. There was also a pool on the same floor along with allegedly the city’s best space according to conde nast.
    I loved the city and I’m off back in a few weeks but staying at the Sofitel. There are so many great (boutique) hotels in town – don’t go for the W !!

    • S says:

      I haven’t stayed here but I echo your sentiments on W. There’s something really quite unappealing about the design to me, even though I am probably the target demographic

      • Harry T says:

        There are bad Ws and good Ws. The brand standard is only reliable for ensuring the same toiletries. For example, W Boston is crap. W Barcelona, Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam (Bank side), Melbourne all very good hotels but with quite different designs and decor. I don’t like the design at W London but the service has always been great, as has the elite treatment. The new W Dubai Mina Seyahi is one of the best Bonvoy hotels I’ve ever visited in my nearly 400 nights in the last few years – it’s a very high quality build with massive rooms and gorgeous public spaces. The service is incredible from the moment you arrive until you leave. Elite treatment is exceptional.

        So yes, the brand varies a lot, which is unfortunately common with the big chains. But there are some real gems.

  • Andrew. says:

    That’s a creepy/racy picture of Claudia Winkleman in the bedroom! Not sure about her being on the cushions as well.

    How did you deal with the poached egg served in the glass dish?

  • krys_k says:

    I prefer the Reforma district as tourist wise there is huge amount to do there and near there, and it’s always buzzing. Usually I stay at the Hilton which has a great gym, paddle tennis courts, indoor and outdoor pool. Rooms are a bit old school in look. The lounge has excellent views from high above.

    • JDB says:

      The many Reforma hotels are a bit noisy and some rather isolated. The historic centre is now a great place to stay – eg Círculo Mexicano, small, very comfortable, superb personal service with great rooftop bar and so many restaurants in walking distance. Polanco where this W review is does have a lot of very good smart restaurants in keeping with it being an expensive residential area.

  • Freddy says:

    Thought Rhys had stumbled into love Island with that photo of the beds with the garish colours

  • DorsetFlyee says:

    Great review Rhys. We loved Mexico City – great food and vibe We’ve stayed at both Ritz Carlton and Hilton – would recommend both. Slightly different area to the W – nearer Reforma.

  • JDB says:

    Thank you for the review; always interesting to read things about Mexico. While we love much modern design, this hotel looks just like gimmickry for the sake of it. I prefer a hotel to focus on real stuff that matters to one’s stay rather than cheaply executed design stunts.

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